30 Apr 2013 07:30

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has won the Airfinance Journal “Middle East Deal of the Year” award. The prestigious accolade was awarded to Etihad Airways for the combination of its equity investment and subsequent aircraft pre-delivery payment (PDP) shareholder loan financing facility to airberlin. 

Judges credited the Abu Dhabi-based airline for the deal and the “significant work undertaken to ensure adherence to finance regulations” and the “speed at which the parties were able to structure and close the transaction”.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “The benefits and positive impact, brought by our equity acquisition, to Etihad Airways and airberlin, have been well documented and this award is fantastic recognition of that and the in-depth work that went into securing the initial deal.”

“The partnership has had a considerable impact on both airlines, in terms of revenue and passenger numbers,  as well as the aviation industry overall as it has shown the tangible benefits gained by all member airlines within Etihad Airways’ equity alliance.”

Dickon Harris, Airfinance Journal editor, said: “This is an exceptional deal which saw Etihad Airways offer a sophisticated financing structure that has helped transform the fortunes of airberlin. Etihad Airways wins this award for its innovative approach that was completed without the help of investment banks. The total transaction, which includes an extremely large PDP financing, significantly lowers the price that airberlin will need to pay for its upcoming deliveries.”

More than 300,000 additional passengers flowed into the networks of Etihad Airways and airberlin in 2012 and that figure is set to increase considerably in 2013 as the impact of closer cooperation across almost every division of each carrier comes to fruition.

The partnership with airberlin has also expanded Etihad Airways’ network reach and provided the airline with further opportunity for global growth.

The PDP loan, a key factor in Etihad Airways winning the Airfinance Journal award, added greater complexity to the airberlin deal as it required an agreement between airberlin, Etihad Airways and Boeing.

The PDP loan was required to have a customised drawdown and repayment profile whilst ensuring sufficient security was in place at all times to Etihad Airways in the form of PDP balances and the equity in future airberlin aircraft order positions.

The US$255 million facility is a shareholder loan secured by PDP deposits and the equity in future order positions. It unlocked the liquidity equivalent to the value of the PDP’s and orders for airberlin and is secured by Boeing 737 and Boeing 787 advance payments and orders.

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